It’s a rainy and overcast day in South Central Idaho and I’m in a happy place.
I’m wrapped up in my blanket – a quilt that was on my bed as a child – in a comfy chair next to a bright window. My teacup is full of my morning elixir. The cat is curled up on my lap and I’m desperately trying to finish a book so I can start a new one in between naps.
The “Should Monsters” are biting at my toes, reminding me of all the things I should be doing. The list is long.
**I think I’ve found a way to bring public transportation to this county and I need to do some informal surveys and research to figure out how to make it work.
**We got a surprise donation to the youth center the other day. A much needed $10,000 that will help repair the roof and give us a bit of cushion as we prepare to open for programming in August. I need to write thank you notes and do some planning.
**The AmeriCorps team has been working with the local garden club this morning building a pollinator pathway and garden boxes in a new pocket park on the east side of town. For an extended lunch break, they’ll be given a private tour of a local attraction. The funny thing about Idahoans is as much as we hate people from other states coming here, we love showing off our state. The team has been on the receiving end of meals dropped off at the center, gift certificates to local restaurants and offers to take them hiking, boating, fishing and more. Last night I took them to the College of Southern Idaho where they got a tour and watched a live performance of the Laramie Project. It was so good to see live theater again. I think a few members of the AmeriCorps team will be organizing a theater camp for kids before they leave. A few others have a science camp in mind.
**I spent last Tuesday with Queen Deb of WhiteHarvest on a goodwill tour for our fellow leaders in agriculture. We delivered treats and cheer to our friends.
The should monsters were also at work that day, but in a world that evolves as quickly as ours, Queen Deb and I firmly believe our visits are far more important than the task lists sitting on our desks. Sometimes we just have to remind ourselves and others that’s ok to take a break, eat a cookie and share a smile with someone.
This morning as I kick the Should Monsters away from my feet, I have to remind myself that I am, in fact, being productive. I’m resting and recharging. I’m reading a book that challenges me and makes me think. These are good, purposeful things. I come from a family and tradition that says you must produce to have value. You must work until you have earned the right to rest. I’ve watched my siblings risk their health after big surgeries because the thought of resting long enough to heal efficiently is so repulsive they’d rather risk an injury than be seen as lazy. I’m not sure who would see them as lazy. Will my parents suddenly come back from the grave and scold their children for being idle when there’s work to be done?
I have to force myself to take the time for myself and it’s a practice. While reading and physically aching for peace, I’ll still answer and check my phone. I’ll make mental notes of things to do. Then force myself to focus on the book or allow myself to nod off. The book I’m reading talks of reciprocity – the notion that we should give a little something for everything we take. Intellectually I know I give. I serve. I help where I can. In return, I think it’s ok to spend a Saturday morning curled up under my childhood blanket with a tea, a book, a cat and my thoughts. Emotionally, though. I question if I should, when there's so much to be done.
It’s hard, but I know I’m allowed. It’s taken me a long time, a very long time, to understand that I do not need to earn rest or joy or peace. I am deserving of these things because I am human.
In a few meetings in recent weeks, I’ve listened to talented and passionate women apologize for themselves. They’ll start off sentences with the words, “I’m sorry, but I think...” I want to scream! For the love of god, stop apologizing for having an opinion. Stop thinking you have to earn the right to ask for help, to rest, to take up space…to fucking eat a piece of cake … There is this notion we must achieve perfection before we are allowed to just… be. I just get so angry. But Queen Bre of Color and Light reminded me that this is a learned response. As women who have learned better, it's important for us, for me. to show grace and teach the others ... to lead... as that is my calling.
So here is the proclamation from this queen to the world:
“You are enough. You are allowed. You do not have to earn the right to rest, enjoy peace to speak your truth. You are Divine-- not by some decree from on high but because, my darlings, you simply exist.
This is the way you…we…are created. To believe otherwise Is to insult the one who designed you to be as you are.”
Make it so….
Blessed be, my Queendom.
PS: If you're looking for an update on my self love art project, it's in the members area, above.
What I’m reading: I'm still working on you
What I’m listening to: Alexi Murdock I'm in love with this voice.